June 21, 2014

Today's Hotness: Alex G, Basement, Camera Shy

Alex G -- DSU (detail/transform)

>> Philadelphia's Alex Giannascoli is a young man at a threshold. That he is a young man is not entirely why people are interested in him, although his growing profile as a purveyor of fine lo-fi indie pop is informed by a certain ordinariness, which we don't use pejoratively in the least. He's the boy-in-the-dorm-room-next-door, in a sense. The earnest, enigmatic wunderkind known to music fans as Alex G has seen his low-key pop project go from cult fave to, well, an even bigger cult fave in what feels like a matter of months. The recent release of his first-ever vinyl full-length, the wistful, mysterious DSU, has precipitated a gradual unveiling of the soft-spoken musician. Not unlike Frankie Cosmos' Greta Kline, Mr. Giannascoli toiled in obscurity for years creating an extensive catalog to little fanfare -- until recently. His singular songcraft, however, increasingly spurred significant word-of-mouth, and even endorsements from now-label mates Elvis Depressedly and Ricky Eat Acid, as well as a curious boomlet of exploratory profiles including an excellent one from Jersey Beat. As a result, Alex G seems positioned to break out in spite of himself, if not into a wider consciousness in the indie rock world, then certainly into notoriety among lo-fi adherents. Not unlike the songs he pens, Giannascoli comes across like a passive, hyper-aware dude and other recent sit-downs with Impose and The Fader reinforce this, painting him as a talented, if unsure millennial. While he's tagged with comparisons to Phil Elvrum's The Microphones and Mount Eerie, Alex G's homespun indie-pop -- typically recorded with little more than a computer and a duct-taped microphone -- resonates with a singular domesticity and intimacy, despite occasionally inscrutable lyrics. DSU is available now on vinyl and as a free download via Orchid Tapes right here; you can stream it via the Bandcamp embed below. Alex G is touring this summer, and is presently slated to perform at Roggies in Brighton in August -- that date may or may not get moved given the venues's current shutdown. Query a counterculture enthusiast. -- Dillon Riley

>> One thing we can all agree on is that a number of bands signed to the venerable Boston indie label Run For Cover have a very loose understanding of the term "hiatus." This week saw the release of Scranton-based punk collective Tigers Jaw's Charmer, a record that came to fruition in spite of (or perhaps because of) a significant lineup change and subsequent hiatus notice (it also happens to be the band's strongest work to date). In the fall of 2012, Ipswich, England-based post-hardcore heroes Basement countenanced a similar inflection point, and elected to put the band on ice in favor of school and work endeavors. Earlier this year, however, Basement surprised fans by announcing reunion shows in the states, Australia and Japan. The dates sold out quickly, proving that fans continue to carry a torch for the band. In tandem with these shows, the wuintet has announced the arrival of its first new material since 2012's Colourmeinkindness in the form of a three-song EP entitled Further Sky. The first, and likely only, preview tune from the EP is the stunning and pretty "Summer's Colour," wherein the band slightly subdues its heavy guitar attack in favor of a denser chug more characteristic of the space-rock vibe of unsung '90s heroes Failure. Britpop fans will be delighted to learn the new short set also includes a cover of the Pulp classic "Animal Nitrate." Preorder Further Sky via Run For Cover right here. Basement will perform at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. in late August. It's a killer lineup including RFC affiliates Pity Sex and Superheaven, as well as the mighty Ovlov, and the show -- as well as all of the rest of the US dates, apparently -- is already very, very sold out. Stream "Summer's Colour" via the embed below and kick yourself repeatedly. -- Dillon Riley

>> In other RFC news, Jack-O-Lantern, the debut EP from the upstart dream-pop combo Camera Shy, is slated for release next week. The act features current Whirr/Nothing/Death Of Lovers guitarist Nick Basset alongside former Whirr vocalist Alexandra Morte. The duo takes a decidedly more delicate, candied approach to the dream pop template than that of the related acts: in the context of Camera Shy finds Mr. Bassett sticks mostly to acoustic strums with the occasional bright and clean electric guitar noodling, and Ms. Morte's vocals are up-front and unmarred. Unsurprisingly, Camera Shy is widely considered to be Bassett's most accessible project yet, and while we feel the huge melodies found on Whirr's debut Pipe Dreams were very appealing and fairly conventional (albeit loud), we understand the sentiment. If Camera Shy ever decide to play some shows its music will likely be delivered well under the sonic pain threshold, which will feel sort of novel in contrast to the work of Bassett's present "day-job" band Nothing. Two gentle and sunny preview tracks, "Spin Me" and "Come Around" can be streamed via the Soundcloud embeds below. Preorder Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween-themed vinyl -- obviously -- from Run For Cover right here. -- Dillon Riley

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